Sunday, 2 November 2014

About A Man: Hugh Grant

He is the man the tabloids love to hate, most especially since he turned the tables on the press with the publication of his taped conversation with Paul McMullen, in which the latter unknowingly confessed to the dirty tactics of the press as well as the involvement of people in high places. Later, Grant served as a witness in the Leveson Enquiry into phone-hacking and is to date a director and frontman of HackedOff.

Yet whilst the less-serious journalists hate him for all this, they must also deep down be thanking him for the multitude of times he came in handy for writing interesting titbits about his life. Since the paparazzi photographs of Hugh with the beautiful girl in the safety-pin dress by Versace twenty years ago, the press have never left him well alone. In fact, when he got arrested in 1995 at Sunset Boulevard for ‘lewd conduct’, the incident received so much coverage that unfortunately I have met people who know little about him and yet, when I mention his name, they are quick to point out that one episode in his life. When Hugh manly owned up to being in the wrong on Jay Leno's 'Tonight' show only a week or two later, he made what many refer to as a 'public apology' (as if the public was due an apology for his private affairs?!). Since then, the press has taunted him in all possible ways, many times publishing stories or details achieved by underhanded means. They have gone to great lengths to provide the public with juicy details (and sometimes pure fiction) from the life of a man who first rose to fame in 1994 as the bumbling toff Charles in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral'.

That year he made the front cover of the UK Edition of Premiere, his lovely model-perfect face captioned 'SWOON! The rise of Hugh Grant'. But his acting work goes way back, before he became a public symbol of both good looks and charm. From his debut in 'Privileged' (1982), he went on to get an important part in 'Maurice' (1987) for which he won Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival and then his main actor role in the French Production 'The Bengali Night' (1988). His acting is to be admired in both these films, even at the young age of twenty-seven (back then very lean, boyish-looking and absolutely adorable).

Other old films of his include 'Impromptu' (in which he pulls off the Polish Chopin's part to snobbish perfection) and 'Sirens', as well as Roman Polanski's 'Bitter Moon' in which he co-stars with Kristin Scott Thomas who also appears in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' as his best-friend Fiona. His earlier films seem to indicate an interest in projects that defy accepted norms, exploring that which is unacceptable and at times immoral. I hazard a guess that this might have intrigued a young witty and intelligent Englishman who was bright enough to receive a scholarship to Oxford, where he studied and graduated with a degree in English, before choosing to pursue an acting career.
He is self-deprecating about his acting abilities and it's been over ten years since he declared he would stop making films. And yet few actors could brag not only his notoriety but also his achievements. One of his biggest films of all time has to be 'About A Boy' (2002), based on the book by Nick Hornby, in which only Hugh Grant could pull off to perfection the part of a cad that the viewer cannot help but love and side with. For his interpretation in this film, GQ named him 'Man of the Year' but theirs is only one of a very many honours bestowed upon him for his brilliance. On winning his Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a motion picture Comedy in 1995, he made what must have been one of the most original (and mockingly honest) speeches I ever heard. It was to be the first of a series of awards that include a BAFTA for Excellence in Film and an Honorary Cesar for Lifetime Achievement.

I am not yet done with my praise for the person who I must admit is to me an inspiration and a hero, maybe my muse and certainly my idol. But if I were to draw this article out any longer I am in danger of losing those readers who are not Granters like myself. So whilst wishing him more success and hoping that the world never runs out of new Grant films to watch, I leave you till next time. 

No comments:

Post a Comment